Listening Hearts: Day

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Image result for atticus finch"

Listening Hearts

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is one happy memory you made this month?

Party Tricks: Nelda Siebold’s Meatballs

When can we gather again together? I don’t know, which means that I’ve not gotten to make my favorite meatball recipe in a long time. It’s hard to justify making 3 lbs of meatballs when I’m only cooking for four people. I could scale this down, but it freezes well and reheats nicely, so it’s a good choice for cooking on a weekend and eating now and later.

The recipe is based on Patti Clark’s contribution to the Clay Center, Kansas Evangelical Covenant church cookbook from 1999. It’s in honor of her mother, Nelda Siebold. I know neither of these women, and the cookbook was a gift to me from a former church member. The recipe is titled “Mom’s Barbeque Meatballs,” but since Nelda isn’t my mother, I call them “Nelda Siebold’s Meatballs.” I don’t know Nelda Siebold or anyone related to her, but I thank God for her meatballs about a dozen times a year.

This recipe makes a significant number of meatballs–a 9×13 pan and another 9×9 pan. So they’re good for a potluck or a party. If you use certified gluten-free oats and make sure that your onion powder and liquid smoke are gluten-free, you can make a gluten-free main dish that your friends who avoid gluten will appreciate.

a casserole pan of meatballs.

Ingredients

for meatballs

  • 3 lbs hamburger
  • 2 1/4 c. oatmeal
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 1/4 tsp. chili powder

for sauce

  • 2 2/3 c. ketchup
  • 1  1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion (or, really, a whole onion, chopped any size you like, of any size)

Directions:

Briefly mix meatball ingredients until combined. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place into a 9×13 pan and a 9×9 pan. They should be crowded in the pan, each meatball lightly touching the ones around it.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.

Add sauce and bake for 60 additional minutes.

We tend to eat these with egg noodles and Brussel sprouts.

 

 

 

 

 

Beets Every Which Way: Beet Salad

red beets tossed in parsley

I love pickled beets so much that I rarely prepare them any other way. That just means that when I do eat them in another preparation, it’s gotta be excellent.

Like this little salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. cooked beets, peeled, and shredded or quartered
  • 1-2 bunches of fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbs oil oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Dress parsley with dressing. Gently fold in beets. Season with cracked pepper if you like.

 

 

Beets Every Which Way: Simply in Season(ish)

a glass quart jar of purple beets

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is a riff on the Simply in Season recipe, which you know is part of the Lancaster County Mennonite tradition because of the unholy amount of sugar in it. It’s reduced here.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon boiled beets, sliced or quartered*, liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 c. liquid from boiling the beets
  • 1 1/2 c. white vinegar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick cinammon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp salt

Boil vinegar, water, and spices, then cool slightly; strain. Pour over beets in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate.

*You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.

 

Beets Every Which Way: Red Wine Vinegar Beets

picked beets from a bird's eye view

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is a riff on red wine beets, which are delicious but not common in our house because I don’t usually keep red wine around.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beets steamed, roasted, or boiled beets, sliced or quartered*, liquid reserved if boiled
  • 1 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. liquid from boiling beets or nonchlorinated water
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp whole allspice, cracked
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 5-10 black peppercorns
  • half stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Boil vinegar, water, and spices, then cool slightly; strain. Pour over beets in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate*

You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.

 

Beets Every Which Way: Pickling Spice Blend

a jar of pickled beet from a bird's eye view

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is more of a traditional pickle profile.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beets steamed, roasted, or boiled beets, sliced or quartered*
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin\
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. nonchlorinated water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 tsp. whole peppercorns

Boil vinegar, water, and spices, then cool slightly; strain. Pour over beets and onions in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate*

You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.

 

Beets Every Which Way: Honey Pickled Beets

a view of a jark of pickled beets from above

I have a beet problem, which is to say that I love pickled beets, which means I’m worried that I’m missing out on the perfect pickled beet recipe. That means I experiment a lot with them. My rule has been that when I make them, I make my current favorite recipe alongside a new recipe, so I can taste them against each other. Sometimes the new recipe goes on repeat and sometimes it just goes into my notes, to be revived if I think a friend or guest will enjoy it.

Today’s recipe is a little lower in sugar than others I often use and is sweetened with honey, which is a fun change of pace.

Ingredient, in addition to steamed, roasted, or boiled beets, sliced or quartered*:

  • Equal parts apple cider vinegar and non-chlorinated water, enough to pour over beets to cover. If unsure, start with 1/2 c. of each.
  • 3 Tbs honey per 1 c. liquid
  • 1 1/2tsp salt per 1 c. liquid
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper per 1 c. liquid
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary**

Boil liquid, then cool slightly. Pour over beets in a heat-proof jar. Refrigerate*

*How many beets, you ask? As many as you want to eat.

You can steam them by covering them in tin foil and placing in a roasting pan at 400 degrees. Roast by putting them in a roasting pan with olive oil at 400 degrees. Or place beets in enough water to cover and boil 1-2 hours until soft. In any case, wash thoroughly but do not peel before you begin and leave 1-2 inches of tops intact. After the beets are cooked, the skins slip right off.

**I use rosemary because I grow it. You could also use an orange or lemon peel or skip it entirely.

 

 

 

Back-to-(home)school Sloppy Joes

“Do you miss school?” I asked my youngest as what would have been the end of the school year neared.

“I miss sloppy joes.”

How could I say no to that? In honor of all the kids who miss sloppy joes, here’s the recipe I’ve been working on all summer. It has two unusual components: onions that are nearly liquefied (so you get the taste without your children who freak out at the sight of the tiniest bit of onion objecting to them) and the use of baking soda to keep the meat moist. It’s weird, but it’s science.

a sloppy joe o a potato bun

  • 1 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4-1 onion, finely chopped or nearly liquefied in a food processor, then strained
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 3 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs cold water
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Mix 1 tsp water and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Add to meat and begin to brown. Mix onion and 1/8 tsp baking soda and add to meat as it cooks. When nearly brown, add garlic. When meat has finished browning, drain some or all the liquid.
  2. Combine ketchup, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika. Add to meat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Create a slurry with cornstarch and cold water. Make sure cornstarch is entirely dissolved in water so no chunks remain. Stir into meat mixture.
  4. Add red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar and stir once more before serving on potato rolls.

 

Listening Hearts:

Our family has been working on a new daily practice: listening. Active, reflective, engaged listening that says to the other person. My desire is to understand you as you are, not to correct you or improve you or educate you.

To that end, we’ve been writing questions to help us get to know each other better. Some of these questions are serious; many are silly. Sometimes we laugh at things that are meant to be serious, and sometimes our silliness leads us into serious places. Our goal is to publish one each day on our blog. We hope you find them useful, either as prompts to think about yourself or as questions you bring to the car ride or the dinner table. They’re written by all of us, and you’ll see the diversity of our thoughts and interest in them, so in the questions themselves, you’ll get to know us a little better too.

Subscribe to our blog (or follow our Twitter account @familyfoxhole) to have them appear in your inbox or Twitter feed daily.

Today’s question:

What is one happy memory you made this month?